Friday, September 25, 2009


First, a couple of political thoughts this week:

1.) Why is it Sarah Palin can go to China and bad mouth our country and our President and be called "unpatriotic" and "anti-American"?

2.) Why is it the FBI and the NY can bust a terrorist group with plans to and this administration gets no credit for "keeping us safe" ?

3.) The UN Security Council, at the first meeting chaired by our President, unanimously passed a U.S.-drafted resolution that endorses the eventual goal of "a world without nuclear weapons. Then they confronted Iran about their clandestine program which appears to be in violation of "peaceful" nuclear use.
On to Entertainment:

4.) I thought the Emmy Awards Show was terrible. It dragged and the animation clip was horrific. I am tired of them showing the same handful of celebrities on the red carpet - I want to see all the arrivals, not a few stilted interviews.

5.) I sobbed through a very emotional two hour Grey's Anatomy show last night. I didn't especially like the George character, but I thought, as usual, the writing on that show is so wonderful and engaging.
At home:
6.) Ally is off to Ashland Oregon with her drama class to attend the Shakespeare Festival. She has gone before and come back walking on air after seeing 4 performances, attending workshops and visiting behind the scenes. Also from lack of sleep and good nutrition!
7.) The above means Tom and I are FREE this weekend. No soccer, no practice driving, no shuttling her around for her social life or shopping.
Have a nice weekend!!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Even though almost everyone in this country is an employee at some time in their life, here are so many things that people don’t understand about the legal aspects of that role. The first thing people need to understand is that in all states (except Montana), unless you have an employment contract - you are an “at-will employee” and employers may fire employees for any reasons, no reasons and even unfair reasons, as long as they are not illegal reasons.

You cannot be treated differently or fired because of: race, color, national origin, age, gender (pregnancy, sexual orientation) or physical or mental disability. These are considered protected classes – protected by anti-discrimination laws. There are other illegal actions an employer can take, including retaliation, harassment, creating a hostile work environment and a few others.

My husband is an Employment Attorney in California who works for employees only. After 20 years in the corporate world of employee benefits, he wanted to have his own law practice and work to help people. I have been his sounding board for the past 6 years, and his paralegal for the last 6 months.

In the work I have done with Tom’s clients, I have found that there are those who tuned in to their employment problems and began compiling evidence, and those who let things run their course and then try to put together a complaint. You can guess which is more successful.

If you think you fall into a protected class and believe that you are being treated unlawfully at work, start “preparing your case” right away. You can believe that a smart boss or human resources department is doing so. When there is an incident, write it down, including the date, names of witnesses and who said or did what. Report problems right away and keep documentation, for example a copy of the e-mail you send or report form you submit. Even if management or the HR department doesn’t act.
Keeping a diary at work, even jottings on a calendar can be very helpful should you someday need to recount each and every incident. (Many small incidents can show a pattern of a problem.) Note the circumstances, the discussion, witnesses, how you felt and what action was taken. When you have a verbal discussion, write up a memo of what was discussed and send it to those involved.

If the job issues put you under stress, tell your doctor. Ask for a referral to a mental health counselor and go. Stress and medical problems brought on by stress can seriously affect your health and ability to work.

If you think your job is in jeopardy, try to clear up the problem by talking with your employer. If you don’t find a solution, do not quit your job. Seek legal counsel. Many attorneys will listen to your story and give 30 minutes of legal advice or coaching without charge. That call may help you save your job or preserve your rights!

If you get fired or laid off, it is very important to stay calm. Get as much information as you can. Listen carefully and take notes. Do not sign anything. As soon as the meeting is over, write down anything else you can remember about what happened at the meeting and contact an employment lawyer. Some attorneys, for a small fee, will review a separation agreement and coach you on how to improve the agreement to your benefit.

Most of us are working away, navigating the corporate culture and just dealing with things as they come. Unfairness, hostility, overwork and little indignities can just be part of the deal. Be smart, though. Take care of your rights as an employee.

Friday, September 18, 2009


After reading Suburban Correspondent's posts the last couple of weeks I checked out the site her 7 Quick Takes Friday came from and decided to join in. Everyone who posts a list then links from the site - a fun way to find interesting new blogs.

1.) Driving to soccer practice I saw a big banner stretched across the fence at the Middle School announcing the fall fundraiser. Last year it was cookie dough - this year it is MEAT.

2) We are now at the point where was can laugh about Ally backing into the garage door and damaging not only the truck she was driving and the door but the car inside the garage as well. We are calling it a "Garage Sandwich."

3) I actually won The Women's Colony raffle this week - $200.00 at the Piperlime website featuring shoes and handbags!!! I spent about 3 hours today looking at shoes and drooling all over my keyboard...I'll post what I choose.

4) The September heat has been climbing and will continue through next week in the high 90's and 100's. The brightside is that my tomatoes are finally ripening on the vine. I am looking forward to a Caprese Salad...

5) Has anyone ever managed to pick a really bad watermelon and then taken it back to the store? I am usually an excellent judge of melons, but I just cut my second bad one - it tastes unripe and sort of chemical. I think I will try to return it...

6) Watched Survivor with Tom last night. It isn't a show that I like much and last night reminded me why. There is a new contestant who is so smarmy and sexist that I was squirming in my seat. I don't think I'll watch with Tom again - at least until he is voted off the island!

7) Two soccer games this weekend plus picture day. Only 2 years and I will never have to be a soccer mom again!!!

Thursday, September 17, 2009


The Totes/Isotoner Corp. in suburban Cincinnati has been added to the companies which I will NOT do business. This manufacturer that pitches those handy little umbrellas, gloves and slippers to women fought all the way to the Ohio Supreme Court against a woman they fired for pumping breast milk for her 5 month old child at the point in time that her breasts were engorged, rather than on her scheduled break an hour later.

LaNisa Allen waited the five hours to pump for some time, even though she was uncomfortable and her milk was beginning to decrease in volume due to the delay. When she observed other employees taking bathroom and smoke breaks outside the designated break schedule, she decided she would pump when she needed to and take her break early. She made sure she was covered and went to the bathroom to pump. Her supervisor came into the bathroom, discovered her there and she was fired later that day.

The Totes company did not accept the premise that breastfeeding was a pregnancy or gender right under the law. The Ohio courts agree:
Allen gave birth over five months prior to her termination from [Isotoner]. Pregnant [women] who give birth and choose not to breastfeed or pump their breasts do not continue to lactate for five months. Thus, Allen's condition of lactating was not a condition relating to pregnancy but rather a condition related to breastfeeding. Breastfeeding discrimination does not constitute gender discrimination.

Bottom line for me is not that the Ohio courts and legislature are behind the times (more than half the states in the country protect a woman's right to breastfeed during work hours.) It is that Totes/Isotoner, a company which markets it products to women, would be so dispassionate about the needs of their female employee that they would spend the hundreds of thousands of dollars it cost them to take this case on.

Will the company come tumbling down if the break schedule is adjusted to the needs of a new mother.? Will chaos ensue? Corporations can and do survive with respectful, moral and common sense human resource policies. I prefer to give my business to those companies.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


Tonight is Back to School Night at the high school. I don't want to go. I mean I don't want to go even more than I usually don't want to go.

And why? Not because I never get anything out of going - because I usually do. I could tell the Spanish teacher was a loon and the Geometry teacher was mean spirited. Stuff like that is helpful to know first hand when the kids start complaining.

I don't want go because I don't fit into the desks. I always stand at the back hoping the teacher will not point to me and say "Take a seat" which I have to decline and everyone has turned around to look. Then during passing period they discuss just how big my ass is. Well, maybe I make that last part up.

I also don't want to go because I might miss Glee. High school is much more fun to watch on TV.

Sunday, September 13, 2009


Our daughter has just turned 16 and gotten her driver's permit. She has been eager to go out to practice driving everyday and had been steadily improving. She drove my husband's big Dodge Ram truck yesterday for the second time. I personally don't like to drive the truck because it is so large and heavy and the covered bed of the truck reduces visibility, however, our older daughter drove it for years and loved driving it.

Tom usually backs the truck into the driveway and so she wanted to do the same. The first time she parked it with great success. Yesterday she did this:

Actually, it was much worse before I took the picture Tom had been inside the garage pushing the panels out to assess the damage. She hit it so hard that the back bumper of the truck was pushed forward and caused a flat tire, the paint is scraped on the back of the truck and the tailgate doesn't go down flat. Worse is that Tom's nice car parked inside the garage was also damaged.

We are awaiting the insurance appraisal and for the cost to be added up.

Our Daughter is horrified and upset and saying she will never drive again. We want her to learn from the accident, to recognise for herself what went wrong so she can carry that awareness when she drives again.

Tom and I are at odds over whether we should expect her to contribute to the cost of the repairs. What do you think?

Friday, September 11, 2009


I was pleased with President Obama's speech on health care. While he left some wiggle room on the public option, I was happy to hear his forceful stance and applauded right here in my living room when he actually invoked the morality issue.

I have long believed that there are businesses which should not be allowed to be run for profit and and beholden to stockholders. Medicine is one of them. It is immoral to make decisions based on profit when it comes to people's lives. That is not to say that all medical means available should always be used. People should have living wills and judgements must be made which do not always come down on the side of life at any cost.

I simply do not think that hospitals should be staffed with cheaper medical techs doing jobs which require trained nursing skills. Insurance companies should not be able to cancel the plans of paying customers when they become ill in order to pay out bonuses and dividends.
Will we be able to step back from the belief that profit is more important than our moral responsibilities? If we do not have the will to impose these rules on corporations, then we need to provide another option that puts people first.
Th button pictured can be found here.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


Allison Sarah is 16 today!


Interesting essay on the Huffington Post written by Larry Flint:'s the people versus the corporate state. You hear it more and more, sometimes spoken in code, sometimes spelled out as clearly as a neon sign. We have reached the tipping point. The enemy has been identified. It's not left versus right it's democracy versus greed. This realization sits there like an unexploded bomb. We stare at it, waiting only for someone to light the match.

And in the "pre-game" discussions in advance of President Obama's speech, Keith Olberman (who I watch but frequently think goes too far ala the crazies at Fox) said: "tonight we will find out if The President works for us or for the corporations."

I complely agree. I have had a sick feeling about our President ever since he started talking about taking the public option off the table. My husband thinks it is strategic somehow - I hope he is right.

Monday, September 7, 2009


Even though I work from home most days, it so nice to have a long weekend. I got caught up on so many projects and got almost done with this new mosaic project I have been working on for weeks.

I have never used the half marbles on a pot, and the challenge is significant with the curves, so I could only work a little at a time and had to let things set before I could shift the angle. I am also using some small iridized glass pieces I have and then filling with some glittery purple tiles, I wanted to make something very different than I have before - something with a bit of fantasy.

I hope the effect holds up when it is grouted.

I also grouted my new birdhouse and should be able to hang it tomorrow. I had these little red birds which I attached. It's pretty cute - and I don't usually do cute!

Thursday, September 3, 2009


I caught a bit about this on CNN so I looked it up - it is real.
One commenter said "Well, now I know where all the $1 bills from the Monopoly game went." It is ripe for all kinds of jokes, but what do we expect?
We have allowed this kind of stuff to be made so common and mainstream that it barely causes a stir. Miley Cyrus, a sixteen year old girl in short shorts straddles a stripper pole at an awards show and very few eyebrows were even raised. A few commenter's said of the doll: "Available in Walmart for Christmas." and it probably will be. So many people think it is cute to sexualize their kids and everything else in their lives.
I don't deny adults the right to express themselves as sexual beings. I am just tired of the constant focus of so much TV, movies, magazines, fashions, advertising and popular culture on sexy, sexy sexy, sexy, sexy. Of course the kids are going to buy in. We aren't giving them any other options, really.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


In the last few days I have heard and seen flocks of geese flying overhead. The honking is so loud they are impossible to ignore. Our home is directly under the flight path and since they are flying North in fall, I looked it up online. Apparently they are heading out to meet other flocks in a "staging area" before starting the long flight south.

The second clue that fall is coming was found at Costco. The Christmas decorations and gifts are on display.